THE ENERGY EDGE – How to get the most from your food


Energy is defined as:

The ability to do work or

The strength and vitality for sustained mental or physical activity



We would all like to have more energy or at least be able to get more energy when we need it. Let’s take a look at the dietary energy robbers in our diets as well as the energy boosters we can add daily.

The greatest energy robber in most of our diets is sugar in all its visible and hidden forms.

  1. Watch for refined carbohydrates and the highly processed foods that are an unfortunate main stay of Canadian diets. Ie. white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cookies, desserts, baked goods, sweets. Not to mention all the hidden sugars that come in so many forms. Read labels and watch for names that end in “ose”, “itol”, as well as syrups, sweeteners and fruit juice.  Why is sugar so bad? The main reason is that it plays havoc with your blood sugar. When the refined carbohydrate gets into the blood stream, it causes insulin to be released which removes the sugar leaving you with less energy than before it was consumed. Foods that have a high Glycemic Index cause a high and rapid increase in blood sugar resulting in a greater insulin secretion and a deeper energy dump.
  2. Caffeine is another energy robber. It causes a similar reaction to sugar leaving you with less energy after about 15 minutes. Caffeine increases the firing rate in the brain causing thoughts to race followed by an energy dump. Chronic consumption can cause sleep disruption due to over-stimulation of the adrenal gland.
  3. High Allergen foods or intolerances can also cause an over taxed system taking their toll on the immune system. Congestion, swelling and difficulty breathing result in energy depletion.
  4. Consuming a high fat and/ or protein lunch will leave you feeling sleepy because more energy is required to process this macro nutrient. A lighter lunch combining complex carbohydrates and lean protein will give you the energy you need for the afternoon.
  5. Highly processed foods that are for the most part, “pre-packaged and ready to eat” contain non-food chemicals that interfere with accessing energy from the food.

So what can you eat to get energized for the day?

  1. Include a source of magnesium in your diet.  Almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, wheat bran/flakes and soybeans help to decrease fatigue.
  2. Beta-carotene found in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, squash, pumpkin help to boost the immune system freeing up energy.
  3. Spices are a great energy boost! Add some cinnamon, curry, fenugreek, allspice, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano to daily cooking. They help to increase the blood’s sensitivity to insulin.
  4. Include a regular source of Omega 3s in your eating plan. You will find them in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines as well as flax seeds, chia, hemp and algae.

Let’s not forget to HYDRATION!!

Water is one of the main energy boosters. If you are feeling draggy and tired, drink a full glass of water and enjoy an immediate energy boost! Keep a water bottle in your car and on your desk and sip all day long, don’t wait until you are thirsty!

Let’s finish off with a winning energy formula for meal planning.

Combine a complex Carbohydrate with a Protein for snacks and meals and you will reap the benefits of sustained energy throughout the day! Complex Carbohydrates take longer to breakdown and don’t cause high glycemic responses in the blood stream. Add a healthy source of fat and you are ready to perform at your best.


Examples of winning combinations

  • Complex Carbohydrate+ Protein
  • Veggie sticks and hummus
  • Multi grain toast and almond butter
  • Berries and Greek yogurt or kefir
  • Apricots and cream cheese
  • Pineapple and cottage cheese
  • Apple slices and seed butter
  • Multi grain pita,avocado and chicken
  • Jicama sticks and black bean dip
  • Oatmeal, nuts and milk
  • Brown rice and edamame
  • Fruit smoothie with tofu

The combinations are endless! Use this formula to plan meals and snacks for maximum energy through the day!


For a great no-sugar added snack check out our Carrot Cake Energy Balls.


Sprouting Workshop at Pomme

Ticket includes a Now Real Food Sprouting Jar with Stainless Steel Mesh Top

This workshop includes a demonstration of sprout recipes with samples, how-to-sprout instructions and a sprout tasting.

By the end of the evening you will be a confident sprouter and will know how to grow and use various seeds, grains and legume sprouts!

This class is gluten-free and vegan.   You will also receive 10% off storewide when you shop after the class.


Sprouting Workshop at Pomme

Three Easy Dinners

Fast, easy, nourishing meals will be featured in this hands-on cooking class. Learn how to save time in the kitchen while enhancing the nutrition of each meal! We’ll also create a nutritious dessert.




Three Easy Dinners

Kimchi, a Fermented Korean Staple

I still remember my very first taste of kimchi.  I received a jar of homemade kimchi from my friend, Trish for my birthday.  The pungent aroma was followed by its deep, funky flavour. I was hooked and soon after I made my very own batch.

Kimchi is a fermented Korean sidedish.  It is ubiquitous in their diet – they eat it with almost every lunch and dinner and sometimes breakfast.  .  Kimchi is a regular part of Korean banchan, small side dishes that are served along with meals.    It is estimated that Koreans eat 40lbs each per year of kimchi. There are over 160 seasonal and regional varieties of kimchi! In North America, however, we are most familiar with the deep red, spicy variety.  Each year, when the napa cabbage crops are ready families and communities come together for Kimjang, an annual kimchi-making celebration.  Kimjang may last for 2-3 days and families may go through as many as 100-200 cabbages.  Many Koreans even have special fridges just to store their kimchi.

In 2010 there was a kimchi crisis in Korea due to weather conditions that damaged the napa cabbage crops.  This impacted their culture greatly – napa cabbage was brought in from China and they even used the less desirable European cabbage in desperation.  I can’t think of any one food in Canada that is so important and ubiquitous in our diet.

Traditionally kimchi was fermented in large ongi (earthen pots) that were buried in backyards.  Today, with fewer people having space or land to ferment in the traditional way, new vessels for fermenting kimchi are emerging.  At STIR we use 1.9 litre glass jars to make our kimchi.  The glass allows you to see how the ferment is progressing and is a safe, easy to clean vessel.

In addition to its deep, spicy flavour, kimchi is loaded with probiotic bacteria and enzymes.  Try a few forkfuls with your next meal or incorporate it into your everyday dishes.

Some ideas to get you started…

  • kimchi fried rice
  • kimchi soup
  • kimchi grilled cheese
  • kimchi pancakes
  • kimchi quesadilla
  • kimchi slaw
  • savory kimchi oatmeal



Kimchi Kit

Super Bowl Meals

Do you find feeding a picky family or friends challenging and frustrating? BOWLS are the latest and greatest way to feed a group with varying food interests, intolerances, likes and dislikes. They are creative, tasty and most importantly easy! At this class we will prep, create and sample Fiesta Burrito Bowls and Asian Flavour Bowls with a variety of sauces to accompany them. These can easily be reproduced at home for your family or for entertaining!  More info and to register.

Fermented Foods Everyday

Learn fun and creative ways to include fermented foods in meals and snacks each day to boost the nutritional content and probiotic goodness.  Together, we will be making mains, sides, and condiments from existing fermented foods to demonstrate how simple it can be to incorporate these healthy foods into your culinary routine.

More info and to register

High Energy Snacks

Do you lack energy at certain times during the day? Do you find yourself turning to caffeine and sugar for a pick up? Do you need ideas for healthy school-friendly snacks? Join STIR Cooking School and Pomme Natural Markets to learn new healthy, nutrient-dense snacks that are easy to prepare and taste great! STIR Cooking School will demo and provide samples of three delicious, healthy snacks to help avoid those low energy slumps and get a fresh start on new year.


For more info and to register

Healthy Holiday Food Strategies

1]  STOCK the Freezer!
Take a few hours each weekend to make a few simple meals to have on hand when things get crazy. You could make a simple tomato sauce and use that as a base for Chili, Spaghetti Sauce and Minestrone Soup. You will be all set for those uber-busy evenings when you may have been tempted to grab a highly processed or fast food dinner.


What’s with all the rich baking at this time of year?  Do you need a cookie exchange resulting in dozens of tempting goodies haunting you? Make a few family favourites and freeze them for occasional treats. If you are gifting goodies, make a layered mason jar of dry ingredients and tie the recipe on with a pretty bow.


3]  HEALTHY Foodie Gifts
Get together with kids or friends and make some BBQ spice mix, salad dressing herb mix or popcorn mix for great foodie or hostess gifts.
Make dinner for a favourite friend or a lovely warming winter soup as a gift, they will be so grateful.


4]  SNACK attack
Most of our issues with not so healthy choices revolve around being unprepared.  Stock your kitchen, car and purse with mini snack bags filled with nuts seeds, and dried fruit. Keep mandarin oranges, apples and grapes ready to grab. Mini bags of popcorn are also great for a quick snack. Be Prepared!


5]  KEEP Hydrated!
Make sure you bring water when you head out for the day. Keep some lemon or lime water in the fridge ready to go. Avoid drinking your meals, those eggnog lattes and other rich drinks are chock full of unhealthy fats and sugar.
Not only do they lack nutrients but you will experience a predictable energy drain after you fill up on these sugary drinks.

Lunch Box Blues Contest!


 ~ $500+ PRIZE PACKAGE ~

 Dear Valued Contestant,

As with every contest, please read the Fine Print!

Are lunches a major source of arguments, worry, stress or heartache in your house?

Stir Cooking School and Tutoring…With A Twist are super pumped to bring you this contest to help you end your “Lunch Box Blues”!

You are invited, from November 15th to December 15th, to send a picture or a description to us of the WORST lunch you’ve sent your child to school with !  Or, ever almost sent your child to school with (until your Mother’s guilt kicked in)?!

To be entered to win, you have three options to submit your picture or description, you can:
1) Post it our facebook page:

2) Email it to us: (When you email it, please indicate whether you would be ok if we posted it on facebook and whether we have your permission to credit it to you!)

3) Post it as your status on your facebook and tag Tutoring…With A Twist’s facebook page on your picture and in your status.  To tag our facebook page, you will have to have “liked” it first. You can do that at this link:

People who submit their “Worst Lunch” pictures or descriptions will be entered into a draw to win a Lunch Box Cooking Class hosted by Tutoring…With A Twist and run by Stir Cooking School!

Did we mention that this is a $500+ PRIZE PACKAGE?!?!

We will be randomly choosing ten “Worst Lunch” entries. The owners of these entries and their children will be invited to a Lunch Box Cooking Class on either January 30th or February 6th at 5pm.

Lunch Box Blues?

 Most parents dread this part of the back to school routine.  STIR have some helpful suggestions to get you off on the right foot.


1-LEFTOVERS! Whether it’s last night’s curry warmed up in a thermos, quinoa made into a salad or roasted veggies tucked in a wrap with some hummus, leftovers are a game changer.

Cook at least 3 extra servings every night, you can freeze individual portions if you have extra.



Sometimes “who” packed the lunch is more important than “what” is in it! Interview your kids and stock up on their ”likes”! If they pack their own they are more likely to eat it!

Make a checklist on the fridge with ideas under each of the major categories :

1)Protein choices:ie chicken, eggs, tofu, seed or nut butters(is permitted) beans/peas/ lentils, cheese

2)Fruit, Vegetables: apples, berries, bananas, veggie sticks or cooked/roasted

3 )Whole grains/rice/pasta: whole grain or sourdough bread, pasta, brown rice, quinoa

4] Healthy snacks: hummus or bean dip/ fruit or veggies, seed butter/apples, plain yogurt with fruit/honey, nuts and seeds, homemade pizza slice, whole grain crackers and cheese



If your child regularly brings home a full lunch bag, there is an issue. Kids need to fuel their brains and bodies, try and get to the bottom of the eating strike right away.

If they are bored with the same old thing try…

Choosing a theme occasionally, Italian with a skewer of tomato and mozzarella cheese, and pasta with a healthy meat sauce. Mexican lunch could include mini taco’s, salsa/ guacamole and corn chips with a bean and corn salad.

Try different nut/seed and dried fruit mixes, popcorn with a tasty spice mix or some pita or kale chips to keep things interesting



Pack lunches the night before. If you are using leftovers, pack right after dinner and tuck them in the fridge, ready for the am. rush.Heat thermos contents in the am.

Lunches in a jar are fun and easy! Have your kids do a food jar idea search on the internet,There is an endless number of great ideas that are fun and delicious.

Pick up a lunch box container with dividers. It makes the whole process easier and more healthy. Kids can fill the separated sections with their nutritious choices.

We want our kids to learn to pack and eat healthy food to fuel their brains and their activities! Set them (and yourself) up for healthy , delicious lunches this fall!

Need ideas?

The Lunch Box Class-FREE Class!

STIR Cooking School would like to offer you and your friends a special Lunch Box Class chock full of time saving ideas, healthy samples and recipes!

Here’s the offer:

  • get a group together of 8 or more interested friends
  • pick a time,date,location (2 hours is ideal)
  • e-mail us at with your details
  • class cost is $55.00 per person and…

The organizer receives the class for FREE!